10 Amazing Facts About Animal Intelligence

Animals are cool, but they're kind of dumb and only act on instinct, right? Wrong. Some species have a fair amount of intelligence and cognitive ability directed at specific things. Believe me, you might be surprised when you know your pet knows math better than you or has a finer taste in music.

1. Crows can be as smart as children

Crows continue to demonstrate that they have "small brains". In fact, your intelligence may rival that of a 7-year-old child. A study by PLoS ONE, for example, states that crows can complete the task called the "Isopo's Fable Paradigm."

The test requires them to throw stones into the water so that the water level rises and hungry birds can get a reward that is far from their limit. Based on the research findings, crows share a sophisticated awareness of cause and effect possibilities similar to those of humans.

2. Apis bees prove that intelligence does not require a large brain

Apis bees, also known as bichomel, can count, categorize similar objects like dogs or human faces, understand what is the same and what is different, and know how to differentiate symmetrical from asymmetrical shapes.

3. Dogs know math and can learn hundreds of words.

Dogs have the ability to understand arithmetic, according to a University of British Columbia researchers. Studies show, for example, that dogs perceive errors in simple computations, such as 1 + 1 = 3.

"Ordinary dogs" can learn up to 165 words, according to these scientists. “Super dogs” - those on the list of the 20 most intelligent breeds - can learn at least 250 words and signs. Intelligence, at least according to human parameters, varies from race to race, border collie being the brightest of them.

4. Fish Can Count

Pisces can distinguish between larger and smaller quantities, with the added ability to count to three, according to research done with sugar. Fish, like dogs, probably have even more advanced mathematical skills, scientists suspect, but more study is needed to be sure.

5. Cockatoos have technical skills with locks

In a study at the University of Vienna, a male cockatoo retrieved a nut after unlocking a lock that required it to: remove a pin, then a bolt, then a lock, turn a wheel 90 degrees, and finally displace a lock side. The pet did it without anyone's help and took less than two hours.

6. An elephant can speak Korean

A male Asian elephant named "Kodish" can mimic human speech using Korean words, according to a biology study. The elephant's vocabulary consists of at least five words: annyong (hello), anja (sit), aniya (no), nuo (lie down), and choah (good). Since elephants have a trunk instead of lips, Kodish's feat is quite remarkable.

"Some of the words were commands that Kodish learned to execute and we have every reason to believe that he understands the meaning of these words, " said Tecumseh Fitch, professor of cognitive biology at the University of Vienna.

7. Goldfish listen to music and can distinguish between Bach and Stravinsky.

Goldfish not only listen to music, but can differentiate one composer from another. A study published in the journal Behavioral Processes involved the execution of two pieces of classical music near a fish tank of this species. The plays were Johann Sebastian Bach's “Toccata and Escape in D minor” and Igor Stravinsky's “The Rite of Spring”.

Goldfish had no problem distinguishing the two composers. While fish in general, and most animals, prefer silence, research has proven that goldfish can detect complex sound properties such as measure and timbre.

8. Snakes kill their victims methodically

Snakes not only kill through instinct, they monitor the condition of their victims to the last moment, according to a study in the journal Biology Letters. The pressure and duration of the constricted grip are perfectly timed against heart rate and prey weakness. Scientists wonder what other clever prowess snakes are capable of.

9. Horses Never Forget Their Human Friends

Human friends can come and go, but a horse can be your coolest mate in the long run if you treat it the right way. Horses have "excellent memory, " says Carol Sankey of the University of Rennes. She adds that “horses have the ability to learn and memorize human words” and can hear the human voice better than dogs because of their peculiar listening skills.

10. Dolphins are the second most intelligent species on earth

When human intelligence parameters are applied to other species, dolphins are second only to Homo Sapiens, according to Lori Marino, professor of neuroscience at Emory University. It is hoped that in the future high-tech devices may even allow dolphins and people to communicate with each other.